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Walgreens do not space Pfizer doses 21 days apart

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April 6, 2021 – Drugstore chain Walgreens did not follow government guidelines on when between the first and second dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, the New York Times reported.

Pfizer’s shots are expected to be spaced 21 days apart, but Walgreens scheduled the second dose for 28 days later, the Times said.

Twenty-eight days is the recommended time between doses of the Moderna vaccine, which Walgreens also administers.

Kevin Ban, MD, chief medical officer at Walgreens, told The Times that using the 28-day wait time was the easiest way to support the process within our capabilities at the time.

The CDC has asked Walgreens to start using the 21-day waiting period, said Kate Grusich, a spokesperson for the CDC.

Ban said the drugstore chain would start using the recommended spacing on Pfizer injections soon, possibly as early as the end of the week.

The CDC says that waiting more than 21 days between injections of Pfizer will not affect the effectiveness of the vaccines.

“If it is not possible to meet the recommended interval and a delay in vaccination is inevitable, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines can be administered for up to 6 weeks (42 days ) after the first dose ”. the CDC website said. “Currently, only limited data are available on the efficacy of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines administered beyond this window.”

Health officials have questioned whether it was a good idea to wait even longer to give the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines so that more people can have at least one dose.

Kent Sepkowitz, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering, said CNN Monday that the decision to delay a second dose may come down to the available supply.

“If the stock is low then yes I think we should be optimizing ‘good enough’ vaccination for more people than ‘super-duper’ protection for less,” Sepkowitz said.

If there is no shortage, he recommended sticking with the two-dose regimen.

Speaking at a press briefing Monday, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said delaying second doses could put people in a “tight spot,” especially with variants in circulation, CNN reported.



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